I got in a fight the other day. They happen far more often than you’ll ever hear about.
It isn’t fun. It’s a lot of things, but that isn’t one of them. And sometimes you’re alone, waiting. And fighting. Fighting with every ounce of muscle that you have, giving back all that’s given to you until help can get there. And sometimes it’s only a few scratches, a couple bruises the next day and you’re good and thankful. But before that next day the one you fought you may have to take to the hospital. Make efforts to get all the drugs she had consumed, prior to that ground work, pumped out of her system.
The same drugs which gave way to zero pain compliance in that fight. Those are the dreaded brawls, when the tactics you’ve trained in are ineffective. It sucks. That’s it. Nothing worse then when the mind belonging to the one you’re fighting against is absent, leaving nothing but mindless fiery and grit, insane strength and a lot of question. And hope. Hope that youre able to stay in it: “Lord, let me last”.
After fights like that, sometimes—most times—you’re mind gets foggy because, adrenaline. And then all the ‘what if’s’ too. Those are faithful to grab hold of your thoughts and run away with them. And it’s hard to catch them again after that—all the should-haves and could-haves that drive a brain crazy. They all show up and haunt like mad. We don’t talk much about it out here, but we all know it’s there and it happens and it’s real and it’s hard. After a fight like that, you don’t think as clear. But you try your best to for the sake of finishing your shift well.
But sometimes you forget things anyway, like how I forgot about that girl’s purse sitting in the trunk of my squad car that night, after I left her behind at the hospital. The purse I picked up from the ground 50 yards away from where we fought. Along with the huge knife she threw.
Man, I knew I was forgetting something.
I remembered it right in the middle of another assignment almost two hours later from leaving her.
Shoot. I hope she’s still there. Surely there’s still time before she pulls her IVs and runs out the doors before getting cleared, like the last one did.
I helped clear up and jumped back into my squad and rushed to the hospital room where I left her last. I I arrived, fast walk to the back of the first floor, room E24. Pulled the sliding door and a thick, loathsome odor met my face like a ton of bricks. There she was, still there and sitting up now.
Gosh, I didn’t remember her smelling like this. I blame it on the adrenaline. It has its way of silencing senses like that.
“Hey girl, got your purse..”
I could tell by her eyes, the ivs were cleaning nicely, she was coming off her PCP high. The eyes I really weren’t trying to look into.
“Hey. Were you the one I fought?” she asked.
“Yep... that was me. You doin way too much out here, girl”
“No way. That was you? I don’t remember that much! But I remember fighting you so hard. Man. And you fought back just as hard, I can’t believe I was fighting you like that. I can’t believe it”
“Yeah, well. It happened. Glad we’re okay, yeah? You on that stuff, girl. It tends to happen. We got to figure something else out, right? This isn’t working too well, is it?
I began to make my way out of the room.
“Wait. Can I talk to you, please.”
“Sure. What’s up?”
I won’t get into the details she gave to me that night, or early morning. Those are safe secrets I keep. The details of a painful path and the things that spiraled her into this place. We went back and forth for awhile and right before I tried to leave again, she grabbed my hand. She said,
“Thank you. So much.”
And while looking me in the eyes, she asked,
“Could you pray for me now?”
I bent my head down and asked her to repeat herself. Not that I didn’t hear her the first time. I heard her just fine. It was me. I was trying to buy time to weigh out a decision. There were nurses coming in and out, other doctors watching, couldn’t this wait? I needed to get back into the field any way. Surely, I’ll see her again out there. But then, what if I don’t..
Doubt in a moment like that one, doesn’t come from God. Everything in me wanted to wait and leave, but everything about that moment said ‘urgent’ and ‘stay’ and ‘yes’. Doubt in a moment like that only comes from one who wants to keep you from believing Him. And reffecting Him in any way.
She held my hand and I held hers. And I began to pray. And I prayed over her and over us for 15 minutes. I know it was 15 because my body cam was still rolling and I played it back afterward. Fifteen solid.
Things came out of mouth that surprised and caught me off guard. I recounted God’s faithfulness and attributes of His character—who He is. And who we are to Him. And I spoke those things out loud. For her. For me. Every one of His Words He gave me from the Word that I had sat on that morning before shift, had prepared me for that exact moment.
Truth and Life ran into those walls and a ceiling, and a hospital bed. They ran through her and I and far beyond, I believe that.
God caught every word in His hands. Because He hears and desires to hear from us.
And by the end, she stayed bent over sobbing and through tears, repeating, “I felt that. I felt that. I felt that. Thank you. Thank you!”, and then,
“When can I see you again?”
Look. It’s going to be tempting to read this story right here and think: Awe. What a sweet moment. It’ll be easy to read this and chalk it up as this cute time frame between a public servant and a civilian which her and I happened to share.
Don’t do that.
Please don’t dim this down.
Not this one.
This was no playground, my friends.
This was a battlefield. All of it.
This was nothing short of battle.
I’ll tell you this much, those 15 minutes in a hospital room I spent squeezing her hand, praying on her behalf, and mine—I felt more at war than I did those 3 of physical fight in that grassy field beside that deplorable motel.
Fighting her to fighting for her.
Nothing is black and white out here. I’m not here to sugar coat things, I was fighting dirty with this girl. Because thats what street fights are. Fighting for life, your own, hers/his— is never pretty on the surface. I’ve never known one to be.
And I don’t know what a reader may take from a story like this one. But I can tell you what I’m trying to hang on to: that this powerful moment didn’t come without a fight first. We had to fight ugly in the beginning in order to make it to a place of beauty.
And had that ‘yes’ by faith, faith that God would meet us there, had not been made, I wouldn’t have experienced one of the greatest “beauty from ashes” moments on earth’s ground.
Keep your eyes open. I know life really hurts and it’s painful out here. But sometimes love looks nothing like love at all. Look for it. In all the painful and ugly places. In all the unlikely places. I want to clench this moment in my fists and memory as long as I can.
There will be a fight. There’s no way around it. And He will remain steadfast in you like He said He would.
He will be your strength. And He’ll be waiting on the otherside for you. He’s already there.